in ,

The 13 Best Female Musicians of All Time

the best female musicians of all time
Stirling performing in Guadalajara, México in 2015. Photo by Karla4828 on Wikimedia Commons.

Female singers are commonplace in the music world, but female singers aren’t the only female musicians out there. Women are prominent in the music world, playing everything from the guitar to the drums and even the violin.

But of course, a list of the best female musicians of all time will also include some singers! Read on to learn all about the best female musicians of all time and their amazing talents!

13. Lizzo

lizzo songs
London, United Kingdom-February 18, 2020: Lizzo attends the Brit Awards at the 02 Arena in London, UK. Image from Shutterstock.

Yes, we know Lizzo is a rapper, but her talent doesn’t end there as she is also a renowned flutist. She is so widely known that she actually had the honor to play a crystal flute which was gifted to President John Madison in 1813, though she confesses she was very nervous during the few minutes she played!

12. Taylor Swift

taylor swift on the red carpet
Image from Shutterstock.

Similar to Lizzo, Taylor Swift is mostly widely known for her voice, but did you know she plays her own guitar as she composes? That’s not all, Taylor Swift can also play the piano, banjo, and ukulele, making her quite the well-rounded musician!

Related: All The Men Taylor Swift Has Dated so Far (2023)

11. Lindsey Stirling

lindsey sterling performing on stage
Photo By Richard Berg

Lindsey Stirling is somewhat of a modern marvel.

Born in California in 1986, she quickly rose to fame as a songwriter and American violinist. One of the few of her kind, Stirling’s self-composed violin music is known around the world.

Before you discount her for being a violinist, you should know her violin music encompasses many styles, from pop to rock and even EDM!

Related Post: The 22 Best EDM Songs

10. Carol Kaye

a female playing bass guitar
(No licenseable Images available) Image from Shutterstock.

It’s rare to see a female bassist, and one as good as Carol Kaye is even more rare.

Although she mostly worked as a studio musician, this gave her access to numerous artists, and as it turns out, her playing is part of over 10,000 songs.

The most famous people she played for are The Beach Boys, The Righteous Brothers, Sonny & Cher, and Simon and Garfunkel.

9. Viola Smith

an orchestra performing in 1944 with viola smith on the drums
Image is in the Public Domain.

If you haven’t heard of Viola Smith, we aren’t surprised as her career ended in the 1970s.

Before you scoff, you should know that her drumming career began in 1920. Viola is well known for her influence on swing music and in many musical productions.

Known as the fastest drummer of all time, no list of the best female musicians would be complete without Viola Davis. Sadly, this amazing woman passed away in 2020 at the age of 107.

8. Nancy Wilson

nancy wilson performing on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

Of course, we have to include Nancy Wilson on our list of the best female musicians of all time.

While she was best known for her part in the band Heart, you may be surprised to find out that Nancy Wilson worked for many other bands on the side.

Some rumors say she had a hand in composing almost every top rock hit from the 80s.

7. Evelyn Glennie

female drummers
(No licensable image available) Image by Alexey Turenkov on Unsplash.

Born in Scotland, Evelyn Glennie is a world-famous female drummer known for her amazing songwriting, which is impressive when you consider that she is deaf! She plays the drums barefoot, using her sense of feel to keep the beat and the tone.

While she started her career over 40 years ago, she still plays proficiently to this day, sometimes up to 100 concerts per year.

6. Esperanza Spalding

esperanza spaulding playing bass
Image from Shutterstock.

Playing an instrument is impressive, what’s even more impressive is when you can play three.

Esperanza Spaulding started out as a violin player and later taught herself both the guitar and bass. In the time since she has produced numerous jazz songs and even won 4 Grammy Awards.

5. Joni Mitchell

the image of joni mitchell on a postage stamp
Image from Shutterstock.

Next on our list of the best female musicians of all time is Joni Mitchell, who has also been named one of the most influential musicians of all time.

Known for her unique vocal techniques and guitar playing, Mitchell has produced a number of chart-topping hits in genres like pop, folk, rock, and jazz.

4. Memphis Minnie

a photo of mephis minnie in 1930
Image is in the Public Domain.

Memphis Minnie’s real name was Lizzie Douglas, but that doesn’t really matter when you consider she is the best guitar picker of all time.

Not only did she play guitar but also banjo, and she was featured in many albums of other artists during her time.

She even beat Muddy Waters and Big Bill Broonzy in cutting contests.

Related: The 30 Best Blues Songs: Where to Start When Discovering the Blues

3. Alice Coltrane

alice coltrane in 1972
Image is in the Public Domain.

Beloved in the genre of jazz, Alice Coltrane was a female musician capable of playing the piano, organ, harp, and composing her own music.

Unfortunately, she passed away in 2007, but she left behind a legacy unlike any other, which puts her on the list of the best female musicians of all time.

2. Karen Carpenter

Nixon with karen and richard carpenter
Nixon meeting with Karen and Richard Carpenter in 1972. Image is in the Public Domain.

A talented singer and drummer, Karen Carpenter began performing at a young age with her brother Richard. The two quickly rose to fame and performed on TV and all over the world until Karen’s untimely death in 1983.

Related: How Did Karen Carpenter Die? The Tragic Details of Her Eating Disorder

1. Alison Krauss

alison krauss performing on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

As far as the best female musicians of all time go, we must mention Alison Krauss, who is perhaps the most decorated female musician of all time.

Having won 27 Grammy Awards (and been nominated for many more), she is also the second youngest Grammy winner in history. In fact, she comes in second as the female with the most Grammy awards after Beyonce.

We know you probably haven’t heard her name, but you’ve likely heard some of her songs! Alison Krauss is not only a singer and songwriter, but she also plays the piano, fiddle, and mandolin!

You May Also Enjoy:

Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





rappers who got shot young gangsta on stage

22 Rappers Who Got Shot: 50 Cent, Tupac, and More

musicians who died in plane crashed

12 Musicians Who Died in Plane Crashes